We’re painfully aware of the ageist casting rife in live-action entertainment, especially against women in the business. But even though you never see the actor’s face in anime, this prejudice is just as much of an issue here, too. To please the fans, production teams are equally likely to cast young voice actresses over more experienced, but older performers.
Yuko Nagashima, who is 46 and portrayed Martian Successor Nadesico‘s Erina Won in the 90s, has taken to Twitter to call the industry out on this insult to voice talent like herself, women who deserve more respect from anime creators and its fandom. More recently she has voiced Hotaru’s mother in Non Non Biyori, the Dead or Alive games’ Tina Armstrong, and is also well-known for her dubs in foreign media, including several Sarah Jessica Parker roles such as Sex and the City‘s Carrie.
Otaku USA translate Nagashima’s comments as follows:
“Something I’ve been feeling recently: Lately on the net, people have been throwing around phrases like ‘degradation’ or ‘old hag.’ Especially aimed at women, even though getting older is something that happens to everyone. In Japan… especially in this industry.
In the past, a co-worker I used to date told me, ‘you’re past your prime as a voice actress.’ Not doing anime voice acting = past your prime? I don’t get it.”
We don’t either. Apparently, once a woman is over 30, she can only play mumsy roles regardless of whether or not she needs to ‘look the part’ as a younger, more prominent character. Such nonsensical reasoning against casting mature actresses, in anime or otherwise, needs to end.